Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review GSM phone Samsung E630
Samsung has been promoting a slider form-factor as the main solution for its fashion phones. Having released such models as E8x0 the company decided to offer the same phone in a plainer design. The device got the name of E630. The design was really changed and it got more attractive thanks to a small size of the new device. Another one change won't seem an advantage to many, there is no a mechanism of automatic finishing of closing and opening of the device. This is the first slider in the European market without such a mechanism by Samsung. The reason is quite plain, despite its attractive appearance the device is a mass product and will soon become the cheapest slider by the company.
The dimensions are little, this is the smallest slider (85x43x22 mm) in the market that may be carried as you wish due to the absence of an outer antenna. The weight is 79 grams that is not much also. The unique feature of the construction is that the two parts of the slider are placed at angle to each other. This disposition resembles a "banana" by Nokia (but who remembers that model today?) and is new for this form-factor. It also provides leveling of the control buttons and a number block. The upper part is easier to move (a catch under the screen also plays its role).
The design is strict, a black lacquered plastic matches a silvery surface. The colors are dull and that makes an impression of an expensive model.
Hardware part of the device is similar to the one in previous models and the smaller size was achieved by integrating a smaller display. The resolution is 128x160 pixels (25x31 mm). The 65K TFT display is inferior to the elder models, it's not as vivid. The screen may show up to 5 text and 3 service lines. Comparing the display with ones in rival phones (for instance, in Siemens SL65) we may surely say it wins. Although the device is inferior to Samsung E800, the screen is plainer. Achieving the diminutiveness without a sacrifice happened to be impossible.
The peculiarity of the protecting plastic of the screen is that it's a bit toned. The display is readable in the sun mainly thanks to this toning.
A navi button is four-positional, quick call of some functions is assigned to it already and reassignment is impossible. The button is responsible for accessing a browser but not an OK function. The functional keys block is comfortable. Having opened the device you'll see a number keypad placed in vertical rows with decorating insertions between. The upper row of the number keys is easy to press, you do not touch the upper part of the slider unlike in other models. The backlighting is white and seen well in many conditions. Unfortunately, we can't say the same about the characters that merge in a daylight.
There is a coupled volume level button on the left-side surface, a separated camera button, a connector for the headset closed with a plastic sliding shutter are to the right. We can see an interface connector traditionally placed on the bottom end, it is standard and similar to all the last models by the company.
A VGA-camera, a mirror and a flash may be seen on the back side. A 800 mAh Li-Ion battery serves as a back side of the phone, there is not any backlash and the holding mechanism is fixed with a catch. According to the manufacturer the battery works for 220 hours in the standby mode and up to 3 hours in the talk mode. Working time is increased similarly to the last models by the company. Samsung E630 works for about 4 days in case of 10-15 minutes of talks a day (tests in Moscow). When used more intensively the device works for 2-3 days. Full recharging takes about 1 hour 40 minutes.
The main menu has only one representation of 3 rows of icons and all the submenus are vertical lists. As for me, it's not good to refuse allowing a user to choose the menu type. For instance, even in E610 you may choose the most pleasant view but the function is absent here. There is a fast navigation using number series traditionally.
Phone book. Pressing the right soft key you can switch to the phone book from the standby mode. You find yourself in the list of items and the first one is "Search for a name". The phone allows to view the internal memory at the same time with SIM-card memory. When you save numbers in internal memory you can enter several numbers for a name (mobile, home, office, fax and other) e-mail address and finally assign the user to a group. At the same time you can create up to 10 groups and name them as you like. Own melodies, pictures and sound alert for SMS can be set for groups. You can store up to 1000 numbers in the internal memory.
The phone book item distinguishes from the whole concept of the phone in design, it is rudimentary and remained from the X-series models. A picture may be assigned to a name, that may be a preset image (for example, a set of funny little men) or a photo taken by you. That's pleasant you may assign a personal melody to a user.
In general viewing entries is organized differently compared to ordinary Samsung models. A switch following bookmarks in a horizontal line is realized here. The same realization is characteristic for LG phones.
Messages. The phone supports EMS and concatenated messages (up to 918 characters). As a corollary there is a set of 22 small pictures, animation (2 pictures), a possibility to integrate a melody into a message. Internal memory allows to keep 200 messages in addition to SIM-card memory.
When typing a message you can rise a submenu that allows to switch languages. It means that a message can be typed in several languages. An interesting peculiarity is that predictive text input is supported for all the languages of localized menu. Thus if having menu in Russian you'll be able to use Russian T9.
MMS. You can create several pages, 100 KB is the maximum size for outgoing message and 45 KB for incoming. Up to 150 messages may be saved in the internal memory that is 18 MB.
Call records. Everything is ordinary here - there is call log of the last 20 outgoing, incoming and missed calls. Total call time is not registered though outgoing and incoming calls duration is present in separate mode.
Sounds. The phone has 64-tone polyphony that sounds not very bad. There are several modes of call signal. They are only sound, only vibrating alert or first vibrating then a melody. Other settings are standard, it is possible to choose SMS, MMS alert, adjustment of minute minder during a call, silent call mode (vibra or complete silence).
Settings. There is a possibility to set welcome note but screen settings attract more attention. So, there is a possibility to set animation as a wallpaper (8 pictures are preset). You can choose font style and colour in the standby mode. It is interesting that backlighting can be set for a period of time and a range of values is rather wide (from 15 seconds to 10 minutes). Maximum value is for those who like to play games for a long time, there will be no need in touching buttons to activate backlighting.
Various events may be assigned to opening and closing the slider (for instance, continue the operation when closing the device or finish it). A Voice Clarity function is also here. The manual tells that using the function allows improving voice transmission greatly. If testing the function is a zone with good coverage where your interlocutor is heard well you'll certainly get disappointed with it because will hear no any changes in the quality of the sound. The function is predicted for zones with poor signal, when noises, scratches and so on appear the device tries to get rid of them. The function is realized rather well, it is a plain equalizer.
Phones by other manufacturers do have some algorithms for improving the sound and they all start working without any actions from the user's side. Here a user may choose when to turn the function on and when to turn it off. That makes some advantages especially considering that standard sound optimization is present in the phone.
Not only a usual sound may be assigned to pressing a button but a woman's or a child's voice pronouncing the pressed number buttons may be chosen.
Organizer. There is a possibility to set a new memo immediately. Any memo can contain up to 40 characters. There are no separate categories for events. You just enter an event for a current day and that's all. There is a possibility of keeping several events for a day and a go-to function to a necessary date. The calendar displays the current month.
There is also world time function in the phone, no any peculiarities here. The same can be told about a calculator, currency converter.
Alarm clock can be set for certain days of the week, the phone can be switched on automatically. Then even a turned off phone will work at the preset time.
To-do list allows to set priorities for entered notes, everything is standard.
Dictaphone allows to make unlimited number of records (around 6 hours total). The device allows recording a conversation but it's necessary to call the dictaphone from the menu and that's not so easy to scroll the whole menu but that's the only way to activate it.
A wap-browser version 2.0 is also here, it allows viewing color images. The device supports batch communications (GPRS 4+2) and that makes browsing not so expensive.
FunBox . All your received pictures, images and melodies are kept in folders Sounds and Images.
Two games are preset in the phone, they are BubbleSmile (a favourite version of bubbles) and SnowBall. The games are not erasable. A separate stack of memory of 3 MB is kept for Java applications.
There is a musical composer in the phone. It allows creating polyphonic melodies manually and play various instruments.
Camera. VGA-camera is integrated into the phone (completely similar to other models such as Р510 and that's why photos from a corresponding review will be provided). All the main functions are available from the shooting mode (when the picture is displayed on the screen). You can set contrast level, enlarge picture (8x digital zoom), change resolution. Among standard functions there is a timer, frames (a wide range, some are really not bad), effects (negative, sepia, gray tone, poster). The phone supports MultiShot function in two speeds, normal and high. Each series can contain 6, 9, and 15 pictures.
The camera supports the following resolutions - VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240), QQVGA(160x120), Mobile (176x120). Also there are four types of data compression, file quality (Economy, Normal, Fine, Super Fine). 4 MB of memory are intended for photos, average size of a photo with high resolution and medium compression quality is about 30-40 KB. Video recording is not supported.
I'll repeat the same words that have already made tired many and me also. The quality of connection is typical for Samsung, there are no any troubles with it. Its 64-tone polyphonic call signal has rather high volume and the phone is heard in the street. The power of the vibra is average or a bit higher.
The design may be referred to strong points and if earlier having seen one device by Samsung you practically have seen all of them now the majority of the models have their own faces and individuality. Samsung E630 is the smallest slider in the European market and it looks attractive. In software aspect the phone doesn't differ from E800, it will leave an average user that makes calls mainly and uses extra functions seldom pleased and de-facto that is a standard for today.
A SoundMate accessory is included into a package (it may be absent in the deliveries to some countries). The accessory resembles a pyramid matching the body that may be fixed to the phone using a strip. Having taken an upper part of the pyramid off you'll see a miniUSB connector, the device is attached to the phone with its help. Did anybody guess the role of the device? The function is rather plain - that is an external loudspeaker. The function of loud speaker is already realized in the phone and SoundMate expands its possibilities. The volume rises twice speaking subjectively. The accessory needs no any special turning on via the menu, that's enough to plug it in and it'll start working. There is the only minus the battery discharges much faster.
The device is interesting to a wide range of users as a fashion phone with the price of 350-360 USD. That's hard to say who is a target group for the model (men or women), it's good for them both. The model is mass and that's why the function set is balanced and expanded possibilities are absent. The success of E800/E820 revealed the capacity of market is great for this category of phones and that's why E630 will also be a success. The design is plain and tasteful.
Published 6 December 2004
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